Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chicago Christian High School Track Speed-Work

The speed-work  was broken down to 6, each interval consisting of 800meters(2 laps = 1/2 mile) at your designated pace, followed by 2 minute rest. The designated pace was 1/2 of your 2 mile race pace(run 2 miles as fast as you can) from last week, minus about a minute. So for our group the designated pace was in the 6:15 - 6:30 pace range.

The first 2 intervals my average pace was: 6:24.
The second 2 intervals my average pace was: 6:11
The third 2 intervals my average pace was: 6:16

Total Distance 3 miles, plus 1 mile cool down at 8:30 pace.


Chicago Christian High School Track Warm Up

Speed work at the track. 2 mile warm up. This was my first experience doing speed-work. Last week we just ran 2 miles as fast as we could to gauge everyone's ability. To day we split up into groups for speed work. Nice cool day for our first real session.


Monday, May 28, 2012

2012 RidgeRun 10K

2012 RidgeRun 10K
Andy(center yellow) and I at the Start

John, Andy and I ran the 2012 RidgeRun 10K this morning.  It was hot, no PRs today. I was a minute faster at last year's RidgeRun. Nice treat at the end, Rainbow Ice Creams for race finishers!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

35th Annual Ridge Run 10K

2012 RidgeRun
It’s been a fun and busy year.  So far this year I have run over 650 miles.  Some of those miles have been in different states but most of them have been in areas close to home such as the Country Lane Yellow Trail in the Cook County Forest Preserve, Swallow Cliffs and throughout some of the neighborhoods of Chicago’s southside.  Some of those miles have been in races but the majority of them have been part of my regular running schedule.  There are some races that are on my list of favorites, the Annual Ridge Run 10K is one of them.  This year will be the 35th Annual Ridge Run, which is on Memorial Day.  This will be my 4th Ridge Run 10K.  I am looking forward to the race.  The first time I ran this course, Memorial Day fell on my birthday and my son had returned home safe from the US Marines and I remember wearing my Proud Marine Dad shirt.

The first time I ran the Ridge Run 10K, is a memory I will never forget.  I did not know what to expect.  Most of my running had been me listening to the sounds of my feet hitting the ground and thinking about life in general.  When I ran the Annual Ridge Run 10K, the Beverly Community was right there with me.  They displayed an overwhelming amount of patriotism and support for the runners as we ran through their beautiful community.  That feeling has stayed with me and has made the Annual Ridge Run one of my favorites.
Andy and I at the 2011 RidgeRun

This year the Annual Ridge Run 10K falls again on my birthday.  A day that reminds me of the many blessings I have been given including good health.   But this year when I run the 35th Annual Ridge Run 10K it will be different.  I am dedicating this year’s running of the Chicago Marathon, 2012Run12 and many of the other races, to raise awareness for Neurofibromatosis a genetic disorder that affects over 2 million people.  I am running to honor a former student John, who is 22 years old and has had the disorder since birth.  Neurofibromatosis Midwest needs our help to continue to offer support to those who struggle with Neurofibromatosis on a daily basis.  They do not have a big name spokesperson or a big budget.

If we were to be running and see another runner fall, we would stop and offer assistance.  This is our opportunity to offer assistance to those with Neurofibromatosis.

Click here to help support NF Midwest http:

Thank you for your support and Happy Running!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Swallow Cliffs 6mi Loop

Nice Saturday morning leisurely run on the Swallow Cliffs trails with Angelica, Andy, John, Mike and myself. Rest on Sunday and the 10K RidgeRun  on Monday morning!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Country Lane Yellow Trail

Early morning run, hit the trail at 6:00AM. Beautiful sunny morning! Cooler temps allowed for a non-stop run. Good week for running, after tomorrow's run it will be close to a 40mi week. Looking forward to the Ridge Run on Memorial Day, it is gonna be hot!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chicago Christian High School Track

First day of the Running for Kicks Wednesday Speed Work Training at the Chicago Christian High School Track in Palos Heights, Illinois.

Nice turnout, my guess is around 30 runners. This was the first time for speed work for several of the runners including myself. The goal of first day was to just gauge each runners ability by doing a 2 mile run as fast as possible.

We started out by doing a 1 1/2 mile warm-up, some sprints, the 2 mile race/run and ending with a 1 mile cool down. Next week the actual speed work starts based on our times for the 2 mile run.

1.5 mile Warm up
2 Mile run
1 Mile Cool Down

Country Lane Yellow Trail

Tough run on the Yellow Trail today. From the start I was just not mentally motivated, a little tired from Monday's weight workout and hard 6mi run. Temps were good, nice sunny day, just didn't have my mojo, stopped 3 times for a water break, but I least I finished the full 11.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Ishnala Neighborhood, Palos Heights

John and I ran the 6mi course with the Running for Kicks group today. Nice cool temps for a run. For me it was the first run after three days off. I can't remember the last time I took three days off in a row.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Run Analysis and Personal Training Session

Running is much more than using your legs and feet to go the distance.  I have learned that it is also about utilizing your energy where you need it most.  For example, I never thought about how much energy I used when I was swinging my arms for 26.2 miles while running the Chicago Marathon.  By building strength in other areas of the body, like arms, shoulders and stomach will benefit a runner.

I just completed my Personal Training Session with Coach Kennihan, a Certified Personal Trainer and Running Coach at the Elite Fitness & Gym in Western Springs. The session included a full Run Analysis which entails running on the treadmill for about 5 minutes while Meghan(Coach Kennihan) observes to note any form flaws in order to provide detailed drills and exercises to address areas that need correction or improvement.

Last year in preparation for my first marathon I found a personal trainer to help me setup a weight training program to supplement my marathon training program. I had found a personal trainer associated with the Oak Lawn Park District that had experience running long distances. This weight program served me well for my first marathon.

After running the Chicago Marathon last year, I remember clearly what areas needed improvement such as my quads and so this year for my second marathon I wanted to enhance my marathon training weight program as well as have a Run Analysis done to address any weaknesses in my running form. When browsing through all of the handouts and flyers in the goody bag from the Bunny Rock 5K, I stumbled across a familiar name Meghan Kennihan. Meghan is a race director for the Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10 race that I ran last year. After signing up for the Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10 last year, runners received emails from Meghan about the upcoming race, that included "Top 10 Reasons to Run this Race" and "Top 10 Unacceptable Excuses" that were so absolutely hilarious that Meghan's Top 10 list always come to mind when hearing about the Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10. In the goody bag was a flyer for Meghan Kennihan a Certified Personal Trainer.

I immediately checked out her web page and was impressed by her credentials and certificates as a Personal Trainer. And in addition to that she is an accomplished runner.

My Personal Training Session with Meghan started off by me running on the treadmill for the Run Analysis. Her Run Analysis included six areas: Posture(Chest, Pelvis Alignment, lean), Foot Strike(Hip positioning, contact point),    Arms & Shoulders(Arm swing, elbow positioning), Foot Landing(Supination, foot strike and push off), Turnover(stride rate or cadence) and Body(Vertical oscillation and Swaying).

Wow, who knew that running was so complicated! One would thing you just lace em up and go run. But once you start striving for longer distances and a faster pace, besides conditioning, form and efficiency can play a key role in improving your overall performance. The other important factor is that better form can help you avoid injury. To this point, I have been very fortunate and have only had minor injuries such as shin splints and sprained ankles(I am not including those skinned knees from falling on the trails!).

As part of the Run Analysis, some of the areas that Meghan identified were my arm swing, my foot strike position and my zig-zag posture. The bottom line is that I need to keep my arms motion to forward and back with little or no side motion, my hip movement should be reserved for the dance floor(must be from all those Ball Room Dancing lessons) and my footstrike needs to be better positioned to spring forward.

Identifying the areas that need improvement is only a portion of the solution. Once the areas are identified, Meghan recommended and demonstrated specific drill and exercises for me to implement in my marathon training. After she demonstrated each drill/exercise, it was my turn to do the same. Maybe I should have taken a class on coordination first... After some good coaching I was able to perform reps for each of the recommended drills/exercises.

I have already seen/felt improvement in my form and stride just by correcting my arm swing. For any runner looking to improve their form and performance and reduce the potential for injuries, I would recommend a Run Analysis and Personal Training Session with Coach Kennihan. So for now, I am on my way. Those Kenyans better look out now!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Would You Stop to Help?

Today we were at the House of Harley’s 20th Annual Bike Show and as The Dirty Deuce Band said it was a beautiful day! 
Our purpose was to raise awareness for Neurofibromatosis.  I am glad I wasn’t asked to pick out my favorite bike, because every bike was cool.  If you stopped to visit us today thanks!  You made our day.

I ask the question, if you saw a bike on the side of the road that needed help would you stop or just ride by.  Neurofibromatosis needs your help and you might be thinking I don’t know anything about Neurofibromatosis, so how can I help?  Well let me explain that Neurofibromatosis Midwest is a non-profit organization that offers support to families that are affected with Neurofibromatosis (NF). 
There are several easy ways to help.
  1. Donate today.  Click the big green button to the right that says “DONATE”.  The link will take you to our First Giving website.  Or if you prefer you can mail a check directly to the NF Midwest office at: NF Midwest, 473 Dunham Road, Suite 3, St. Charles, IL 60174
  2. Instead of using Google to search the internet you can go to and set up an account which donates a penny each time you search the internet using GoodSearch.
  3. Now if you are really ambitious, you can contact the NF Midwest office and let them know that you would like to organize a Charity Ride or a Poker Run to benefit NF Midwest.
Most people have never heard of Neurofibromatosis and until a year ago, we too knew nothing about it.  Here we are today, giving our time for the simple reason of trying to raise awareness.  When I decided I wanted to run the Chicago Marathon for a second time, I decided this time I wanted to make a difference for someone and I chose Neurofibromatosis.  I am running to honor a former student of mine who has Neurofibromatosis.  In a recent interview he said, he did know that anyone cared about him.  So I hope that through my efforts, he can see that there are many people who do care.  I hope you decided that you can help too in some way or another to show you care too!

Thanks for visiting us today and I know you will ride happy, so make sure you ride safe!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Country Lane Yellow Trail

What a difference the temperature makes! Ran the Yellow Trail again today, it was 15 degrees cooler than Tuesday, which resulted in cutting  my time by 3 minutes, finished the full trail without stopping, taking water and GU on the run.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Country Lane Yellow Trail

Tough run on the Yellow Trail in the 85 degree heat. At least I was prepared today, I brought two bottles of water. Very tough on the legs today. I was happy to complete the full 11miles only stopping twice for GU and water.

Ishnala Neighborhood, Palos Heights

Andy, John and myself running with the Running for Kicks group. I was late arriving for the run so my wife dropped me off about a mile into the run(yes I am a cheater!). I was able to catch up to Andy and John at about the half way point. Nice run overall!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Chocolate Milk as a Recovery Drink?

Hershey's Chocolate Milk
I thought my wife was off her rocker when she told me she read an article about chocolate milk and how chocolate milk as a recovery drink after a long run has the important ingredients to refuel your muscles.  It sounded too good to be true, and then there was the side of me that thought, “She’s not a runner, how could she possibly know what a good recovery drink would be!”  I decided I had to check it out though, because after all, who doesn’t love chocolate milk!  I waited a while, hoping she would have forgotten about the article.  Then I could tell her about it pretending that I had discovered the article.  It wasn’t hard to research and I found articles from numerous sources such as, and  My findings revealed that chocolate milk as a recovery drink is an excellent source of proteins and carbs which are both essential to refuel your muscles after a long run.

According to a study done by Joel Stager, a Professor of Exercise Physiology at Indiana University Bloomington and the Director and Professor at Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming, there is a small window after a long run to refuel your musclesChocolate milk as a recovery drink should be used within 45 minutes to one hour after a long run or work out.  There is also a specific formula for the perfect protein/carb mix to refuel your muscles.  It should be a 4:1 ratio.  To figure it out, divide the amount of carbohydrates by the amount of protein.  The closer the ratio is to 4 the better the chocolate milk as a recovery drink.
Last year when I began my Chicago Marathon training, I made sure that I told my wife about my research and asked her if she could get me some chocolate milk and being the wonderful wife that she is, she made sure the refrigerator was always stocked.  She had even bought enough so I could share with the rest of the running group.  It got to be a routine as we did our marathon training.  And I have to tell you, after a long run, the chocolate milk sure does taste good!
I ran the Carmel Half Marathon, in Carmel, Indiana as part of my 2012Run12 and at the finish line besides your usual water, Gatorade, and bananas there was chocolate milk.  After setting a new PR at the Carmel Half Marathon, I chose the chocolate milk as a recovery drink and it tasted even sweeter!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Oak Lawn Neighborhood

After a shower and a short nap, my phone rings, my friend John who was going to run the Advocate Good Samaritan Quarryman 10 Mile run wanted to know if I was up for a run since the race was canceled due to the rain. How could I say no, since I was still feeling guilty for only running 1.7 a few hours ago. So we went for a 5mi run in the light rain, not bad at all, as long as it is not a downpour running in the rain is still a good experience! Just RUN!


Oak Lawn Neighborhood

Andy and I on a shortened morning run. Dark Ominous clouds with thunder and lightening were rolling in, so we cut our run short. As it turned out there was no downpour, just a steady rain.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Country Lane Yellow Trail

Well, I was suppose to run yesterday, but Margaritas at Lalos won out! So back to the Yellow Trail today. Nice sunny cool day for a run. The trail is really starting to get overgrown and dense, which makes for a more challenging run dodging branches, roots, rocks and muddy puddles.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ishnala Neighborhood, Palos Heights

Andy, John, and I joined the Running for Kicks group for the Monday night run. For several of us, it was more of a recovery run the the previous day's half marathon. Our goal was about a 9:00min pace, which we did, but somewhere along the way we took a wrong turn and lost about 1/4 mile. Overall, a nice leisurely run.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Palos Expo Raffle Winners Are…

Yesterday was the Palos Area Chamber Expo and Health Fair and packet pick up for almost 2000 runners of the First Midwest Bank Southwest Half Marathon and we had a table there to raise awareness for Neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that affects over 2 million people.
Let me start with a brief history. I decided to run the Chicago Marathon again this October and I wanted to run for a charity, because I realized that through my running I could make a difference in the lives of others. It really puts a purpose to my running. I chose Neurofibromatosis for two reasons. 1.) I know someone who has had Neurofibromatosis since birth and 2.) Neurofibromatosis is a charity that is not well known. It does not have a big name spokesperson or a big budget. I then decided to go far beyond the extra mile to raise awareness for Neurofibromatosis; in fact, I am running an additional 157.2 miles to raise awareness for Neurofibromatosis. I am running 12 half marathons, in 12 states in 2012, or as I like to call it 2012Run12.

Now if we were just standing at a table at the Palos Area Chamber Expo and Health Fair passersby might not even stop. So I called on a few friends and strangers and got some really great donations. First came the raffle prizes:

Running for Kicks – Palos Heights, IL
$50 Gift Certificate

New Day Spa Salon – Oak Lawn, IL
Gift Certificate for a Sports Massage with Liz

Coach Kennihan Personal Trainer & Run Coach
30 min. Run Specific Strength Training Session

The executive planning committee (meaning my wife) decided we still needed more to get strangers to listen for a brief moment. So she called a friend at the Walmart in Hodgkins, Illinois and got some candy. Then my wife contacted someone who works for Gordon Flesch Co, one of the largest independent providers of office equipment solutions and they donated handouts to put into the runners packets. This would give the First Midwest Bank Southwest Half Marathon runners a chance to make donations online and still be entered into the drawing. We did our best to make our table stand out in the room. I could go on and on about our attempts to sell a $1 raffle ticket to attendees at the Palos Area Chamber Expo and Health Fair and offering them a chance to win a great prize and to benefit a charity. It’s actually shocking to think that with almost 2,000 runners of the First Midwest Bank Southwest Half Marathon and only 80 people cared enough to contribute.

So to all of you, who purchased a raffle ticket, from the bottom of our hearts thank you. All proceeds from the raffle go to Neurofibromatosis Midwest. Neurofibromatosis Midwest offers support to families who are affected by Neurofibromatosis.

So here are the winning tickets.

Click to Enlarge Tickets 857148, 857058, 857059

First Midwest Bank Southwest Half Marathon

This was half marathon number 5 of 12 in my 2012Run12 campaign to run for NF.

Not a PR, missed by 30 seconds. For the complete story see my blog entry under my 2012RUN12 tab: click here.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Great Prizes for Donations Received thru May 5, 2012

The Palos Area Chamber Expo and Health Fair is this Saturday, May 5th. The Palos Area Chamber Expo and Health Fair is a free community event, and it will be held at the Moraine Valley Church at 6300 West 127th Street in Palos Heights, IL. Hours for the fair are from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Thanks to the following businesses, the Neurofibromatosis table has got some great raffle prizes!

Running for Kicks – Palos Heights, IL
$50 Gift Certificate

New Day Spa Salon – Oak Lawn, IL
Gift Certificate for a Sports Massage with Liz

30 min. Run Specific Strength Training Session

You’re probably wondering, “Wow! Those are some great prizes. How can I get in on this?” and the answer is quite simple. We will be selling raffle tickets for $1 at the Neurofibromatosis table at the Palos Area Chamber Expo and Health Fair on Saturday May 5th or you can donate through the following link to be entered into the drawing:

All donations collected at the Palos Area Chamber Expo and Health Fair and thru will benefit Neurofibromatosis Midwest, a 501 (c)3 non-profit, which supports families affected by Neurofibromatosis. Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that affects more than 2 million people. Donations to Neurofibromatosis are tax deductable to the amount allowable by law. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to win some great prizes!

If you are wondering how I became involved with Neurofibromatosis, earlier this year, I made the decision to run the Chicago Marathon. This will be my second Chicago Marathon, but for me this will be different than last year. I was reading about the many charities that can benefit from my running. There are many to choose from. Then my wife sent me the NF Midwest newsletter which had an article that NF Midwest was looking for runners to run the Chicago Marathon to raise awareness for Neurofibromatosis. NF does not have a big name spokesperson or a big budget. And I know someone with Neurofibromatosis. This year I am running the Chicago Marathon for John who is a former student of mine who has had Neurofibromatosis since birth. His success and determination in overcoming everyday challenges have inspired me.  As I run, I think of many things and lately, every step I am focused on achieving a new goal to raise awareness for Neurofibromatosis.

Thank you in advance for your support and generosity. Together our efforts will make a difference to someone who has Neurofibromatosis.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Country Lane Yellow Trail

Tough run on the Yellow Trail. Warm, humid and sunny. Even though most of the trail is shaded, I really felt the heat on the few open spots. Usually a drink water and have some GU while running, but today I stopped for water and GU breaks. It felt like a major accomplishment just to finish the full distance. Weather is not an excuse, Just RUN!